You can train your dog the basic commands, such as sit, stay, or come, pretty easily when there are no distractions. But distractions are everywhere!
And if you’re out and about with your dog, you run the risk of him being injured or killed if he won’t listen to you. For example, you may be getting your dog out of the car in a parking lot and he happens to see something he wants to chase. He bolts off, right towards a busy street, and he won’t listen to you when you say come, even though he does it perfectly in your own backyard.
One trick for training for distractions is to start small. Let’s take the command “stay.”
Start where you know your dog will stay when asked. This might be your living room. Make a small body movement, like tilting your head or shaking your butt. Once he reliably stays with these small body movements, go big! Jump up and down or spin in a circle or sing.
Come up with any distractions you can think of that he might come across in his daily life. Just be sure to introduce only one distraction at a time.
Once your dog can reliably stay in the location you started in and with the various distractions you’ve introduced, find other locations to practice in. A new location in and of itself is a new distraction, so start small again and work your way up to the bigger distractions.
Rinse and repeat, and with time and experience you will see your dog move faster and faster through the different stages. Never be afraid to go back a step or two if you see your dog struggling or stressed. You’ll get quicker results in the long run.
And be sure to keep it fun for your buddy!